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Strength and Conditioning in U.S. Schools: A Qualitative Investigation of Physical Educators’ Socialization and Professional Experiences

Ben D. Kern, David Bellar, Wesley J. Wilson, and Samiyah Rasheed

Purpose: To examine socialization experiences of physical educators who deliver strength and conditioning (S&C) programming, particularly the development of subjective theories, expertise, orientations, and perceived mattering. Methods: Thirty-one secondary school physical educators providing S&C instruction/supervision as part of required duties completed in-depth interviews with Occupational Socialization Theory as a guiding framework for analysis. Results: Themes developed were (a) acculturation and organizational socialization influence beliefs, (b) S&C professional development is scarce, (c) S&C in physical education is a sporting endeavor, (d) blurred lines between teaching and coaching, and (e) S&C-related programs matter. Discussion: Physical educators delivering S&C programming lack adequate preservice preparation and professional development, and experience both role conflict and decreased marginalization. Physical education teacher education programs should offer more formal S&C training for safe and effective instruction/supervision. Schools should provide S&C-related professional development to maximize student learning and safety and avoid potential legal liability.

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Investigating Middle School Students’ Physical Education Emotions, Emotional Antecedents, Self-Esteem, and Intentions for Physical Activity

Kelly L. Simonton and Todd E. Layne

Purpose: Grounded in Control-Value Theory, this study aimed to investigate the relationships between emotional antecedents (control-value beliefs) and emotions with students' perceived self-esteem and physical activity intention. In addition, the potential differences in antecedents, emotions, and outcomes by gender were explored. Method: Multivariate analysis of variance and multiple hierarchical regressions were used to explore self-reported responses from middle school students (N = 247; 51% male, 49% female). Results: Preliminary analysis showed males reporting higher levels of intrinsic value, enjoyment, and self-esteem, while females reported more boredom and shame in PE. Control beliefs and intrinsic value were maintained as positive significant predictors (p < .05) of self-esteem and physical activity intention. Emotions of boredom and shame were significant predictors above any positive reported emotions for negatively impacting self-esteem and physical activity intention. Discussion/Conclusion: Emotions and their antecedents need consideration for understanding student motivation, particularly for female students who are more vulnerable to negative PE experiences.

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Measuring Physical Education Teacher Socialization With Respect to Comprehensive School Physical Activity Programming

Christopher Barton Merica, Cate A. Egan, Collin A. Webster, Diana Mindrila, Grace Goc Karp, David R. Paul, Hailey McKown, and Seth Rose

Purpose: Utilizing teacher socialization in physical education theory, the aim of this study was to develop a survey to measure physical education teachers’ socialization experiences and comprehensive school physical activity program involvement. Method: Instrument development included a review of existing comprehensive school physical activity program and socialization instruments, Delphi method to evaluate face and content validity through expert feedback, and a pilot test to examine the instrument’s psychometric properties. Results: Upon completion of expert feedback, three items were removed, four items were revised, and open-ended questions were added to each survey construct. The pilot test yielded 28 completed surveys (40% response rate). Bayesian exploratory factor analytic procedures showed that items had statistically significant loadings and were quality measures of the corresponding constructs. Survey subscales had acceptable and high internal consistency coefficients. Discussion/Conclusion: Results suggest that this instrument is a trustworthy tool for continued research examining physical education teachers’ socialization and comprehensive school physical activity program involvement.

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Can Physical Activity Breaks Assist Mathematics Learning? A Domain Learning Theory Perspective

Wen-Yi Wang and Ang Chen

Purpose : Guided by the model of domain learning theory, this study was intended to determine the extent to which integrating a 10-min physical activity (PA) break in elementary school mathematics lessons would enhance the learning of mathematics content. Methods: A sample of 22 intact classes from a random sample of eight schools in Taiwan were randomly assigned to an experimental condition with PA breaks (n = 11) and a control condition (n = 11) for 12 weeks. Students’ (N = 420) mathematics knowledge was assessed using the standardized aptitude tests accompanying the curriculum, which encompassed five knowledge domains. Results: Analysis on class means showed that adding the PA breaks did not benefit mathematics learning, which lends support to the model of domain learning theory. Discussion/Conclusion: The findings seem to question the theoretical foundation for adding PA breaks to classroom-taught content, including mathematics. Although interdisciplinary or cross-disciplinary instruction and learning may be necessary to advance students’ knowledge, including PA in classroom-taught subjects needs extensive research.

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“I Thought It Was Going to Be Trash”: Rural High School Students’ Disability-Related Perception Change Following Paralympic School Day

Cathy McKay, T.N. Kirk, and Marie Leake

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to describe and understand the experiences and impact of the Paralympic School Day program on disability-related perceptions of rural high school students. Methods: Ninth- and tenth-grade physical education classes from a rural high school participated in the Paralympic School Day event. Of the 68 who attended the event, 42 students furnished assent and consent to participate. Data from reflective writing responses were analyzed inductively using a three-step approach. Findings: The analysis revealed three interrelated themes: (a) “I didn’t expect it to be fun”: preconceptions and reality of trying parasport, (b) “Anyone can play a sport”: developing new perceptions of disability, and (c) “I never realized how blessed I was”: persistence of ableist framing. Discussion: As a result of participants interacting with and learning from athletes with physical disabilities, they developed an understanding of parasport and a new paradigm through which to view individuals with disabilities.

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Influence of a Summer Wellness Program on Bullying Reduction Among School-Age Children

Mengyi Wei, Kevin Andrew Richards, Naiman A. Khan, Amelia Mays Woods, Dorothy L. Espelage, and Kim C. Graber

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to examine children’s, camp counselors’, and activity leaders’ perceptions toward the effects of a 4-week teaching personal and social responsibility model-based summer learning and enrichment program and its ability to reduce bullying behaviors among school-age children. Method: Data collection included semistructured interviews with 30 children and eight camp staff. Child participants completed the following pre- and postsurveys: Personal and Social Responsibility Questionnaire and the Illinois Bullying Scale. In addition, daily observations over a 4-week period were recorded in a field notes log. Survey data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and bivariate correlations, and all observational and interview data were coded using inductive and deductive techniques. Results: The results indicated that the implementation of teaching personal and social responsibility model was perceived to be associated with reduction in the bullying. Conclusion: Findings from the present study suggested teaching personal and social responsibility facilitated social and emotional learning and improved children’s personal and social responsibility.

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The Effects of COVID-19 School Closures on Physical Fitness in Adolescents

Alex M. Wolfe, Maria A. Pessman, Kelly R. Laurson, Dale D. Brown, and Ryan A. Brown

Purpose: This study examined differences in measures of health-related physical fitness in adolescents before and after extended school closures due to COVID-19. Method: The sample consisted of 298 students (135 males and 163 females) from a laboratory high school. Data were collected through FITNESSGRAM assessments. A repeated-measures multivariate analysis of covariance was calculated to analyze differences in fitness before and after COVID-19 closures, including McNemar–Bowker and McNemar tests. Results: Statistically significant differences were identified for Progressive Aerobic Capacity Endurance Run (−4.2%; 1.8 ml·kg−1·min−1) and curl-up (−12.5%; 7.9 repetitions). In addition, 18.8% fewer students were classified within the Healthy Fitness Zone for Progressive Aerobic Capacity Endurance Run, 4% for curl-up, 10.8% for push-up, and 6.4% for sit and reach. Conclusion: Results of this study demonstrate that there was a significant decline in physical fitness for secondary students during extended school closures and social isolation as a result of COVID-19.

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“Skinny Little Mexican Kid”: Life History of a Latino Immigrant Preservice Physical Education Teacher

Karen Lux Gaudreault, Martin Vasquez, Christopher Mellor, Emily Mason, and Adriana Lucero

Background: In order to recruit and retain Latinx teachers, we must first understand how they choose to enter teaching; are socialized; and the influence of factors such as race, ethnicity, and culture on their beliefs and teaching practices. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore the life history of Oscar, a Latino immigrant preservice physical education teacher. Method: Occupational socialization theory and life history methodology guided all the steps of this study. Results: Oscar’s life history revealed key narratives that were influential in constructing his socialization toward teaching and coaching. A constant search for belonging was an emerging theme. Conclusion: This life history highlights the significance and value in voicing the experiences and perspectives of our up and coming ethnically diverse educators. Oscar’s story adds a diverse lens to the occupational socialization and life history literature, especially from a recruitment and retainment standpoint.

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Contributions of Tasks With Different Cognitive Load to High School Students’ In-Class Physical Activity

Anqi Deng and Ang Chen

Purpose: Cognitive load theory focuses on providing appropriate cognitive engagement to facilitate knowledge learning. The purpose of this study was to determine the contributions of cognitive load on high school students’ in-class physical activity. Method: A stratified random sample of high school students (N = 150) who participated in a large curriculum intervention study provided the data. A path analysis and Hayes’ PROCESS analysis were used to test a correlation model and moderation effect from gender and race. Results: The results showed that the reasoning learning tasks directly contributed to their in-class physical activity (path coefficient = .54, p < .01) and the gender and race factors were not significant moderators (p > .05). Conclusion: The findings imply that high cognitive load tasks can facilitate in-class physical activity. The findings suggest the power of the concept-based physical education curriculum in providing productive learning opportunities to all students.

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“It’s Avoiding Getting Sued for Concussion for Those Kids”: Pedagogical Responses of Youth Soccer Coaches to New Guidelines on Heading

Colin S. Barnes and Matthew D. Curtner-Smith

Purpose: To describe nine youth soccer coaches’ pedagogical responses to the implementation of the new guidelines on heading introduced by the United States Soccer Federation. The specific research questions we attempted to answer were: (a) What were the coaches’ perspectives and practices regarding the coaching of heading? and (b) What factors shaped the coaches’ perspectives and practices? Method: The theoretical framework employed was occupational socialization. Data were collected using four qualitative techniques and reduced to themes using analytic induction and constant comparison. Findings: Key findings were that the coaches fell into one of three groups: rejectors, acceptors, and skeptics. Differences in the coaches’ acculturation, professional socialization, and organizational socialization were responsible for the coaches’ differing responses to the new guidelines on heading. Conclusions: Should they transfer to other coaches, these findings should help coach educators to develop stronger programs.